“Sitting Pretty”

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Plot Description

This story, originally published in Dahl’s book Kiss Kiss, is another of the “country stories” that deals with Claud and his friends in the English countryside. (It’s not considered part of the original “Claud’s Dog” series, though.) The narrative centers on two men and the extraordinary method for poaching pheasants one of them invents. If it sounds familiar, it’s because Dahl later reworked the entire plot (and character names and huge chunks of dialogue) into the children’s book Danny the Champion of the World. That book, in turn, had a portion which was later developed into The BFG. As you can see, Dahl definitely approved of recycling his best ideas.

Spoiler warning! Readers of the earlier “Claud’s Dog” series in Someone Like You will undoubtedly recognize the title character Claud back in action. This time the story begins in media res as Claud and his cohort Gordon prepare 196 raisins to take with them poaching in Hazel’s Wood. Gordon’s idea was to fill the raisins with seconal from sleeping pills and knock the birds unconscious. They manage to get in and out of the wood unscathed, bagging 120 birds and dropping the sacks off in a hired taxi. The next day they wait by their filling station for Bessie Organ, the vicar’s wife, to deliver the birds in a specially constructed baby carriage. Before she gets there, though, the powder begins to wear off and the birds all fly out and settle down on the filling station. Horrified, Claud and Gordon know that Victor Hazel will be appearing soon.